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Laurence Owen
Personal information
Country represented:  United States
Date of birth: May 9, 1944(1944-05-09)
Date of death: February 15, 1961 (aged 16)
Former coach: Maribel Vinson
Skating club: SC of Boston

Laurence Rochon Owen (May 9, 1944 – February 15, 1961) was an American figure skater.

Contents

Career

The second child of Guy Owen and Maribel Vinson was an all-around athlete who participated in several sports but at an early age showed all the signs of becoming a wonderful skating champion. Coached by her mother, she was 15 years old when she earned a berth on the U.S. Olympic team, finishing in 6th place at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California. In January of the following year, Laurence Owen won the U.S. figure skating championship and then captured the North American title a few weeks later. That week, she appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine with a feature story that called her "America's most exciting girl skater."

Death

As a result of her championships, Laurence Owen was a member of the American team that was scheduled to compete in the World Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia. She was 16 years old when, along with the rest of the U.S. skating team, she died with her sister and mother in the Sabena Flight 548 aircraft crash near Brussels, Belgium while on their way to Prague. It was the first commercial crash of a Boeing 707, and 18 members of the team were killed, along with 16 officials. The World Championships that year were cancelled.

Laurence Owen is interred next to her mother and sister in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In her book on figure skating, Debbi Wilkes, a Canadian Hall of Fame skater and coach who watched Laurence Owen win her title, wrote:

"Laurence was wonderful. She had a fresh, wholesome look, but didn't fit into any mold. She was carefree and joyous on the ice. She had wonderful rosy cheeks, beautiful big eyes and a short shag haircut that feathered over her face and fluttered when she skated. I was totally enchanted by her."

Laurence Owen planned to attend her mother's alma mater, Radcliffe College, with a view to eventually becoming a writer. Following her death, at her High School in Winchester, Massachusetts, Laurie Owen's English teacher read a poem to her classmates that Laurie had recently written. The poem ended with these words:

Gloom is but a shadow of the night, long past;
Hope is the light,
The radiance.

See also

External links

References

  • Nichols, Nikki (2006). Frozen in Time: The Enduring Legacy of the 1961 U.S. Figure Skating Team. Emmis Books. ISBN 1578602602.  

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